“They scared him to death.” When Maureen Walgren of Naperville, Illinois, said this, referring to the conversation that school officials and law enforcement had with her 16-year-old honor student son Corey, she meant it literally.
Corey was at lunch on a normal school day in his high school this past January when he was called into the office. Waiting for him was the campus dean and a police officer. They questioned him about what was alleged to be an image on his phone of a consensual sexual encounter with a female classmate, also 16. The accusation was possession of and possibly sharing “child pornography.” Evidence strongly suggests that the threat of being registered as a sexual offender on the state’s public registry was made.
Only at that point were attempts made to contact his parents. Corey was told that his mother was on the way to the school, and he was left alone to wait for her.
At some point before she arrived, Corey left. Leaving his car at school, he walked a mile and threw himself off of a six-story parking garage. His death was not instantaneous, but it came before his mother could get to him and be with him in his dying moments.
As it turned out, the images on the phone were so black that nothing could be seen. Even though audio of the encounter was discernible, police records indicate that they would not have pressed charges after all. If only they had waited until the investigation was finished before they threatened him with child pornography and the registry, the story may well have had a different ending.
Corey was an excellent student. He was a good athlete and a popular young man; over 2000 people attended his funeral. He was fortunate to have involved, supportive parents and to have been raised in a loving, supportive home. He was a sweet, friendly, well-liked, high school junior who was planning with those parents which colleges to visit in order to narrow down his application choices. He had never been in any trouble at all. Just the weekend before, he had talked to his parents about his choice to have a sexual encounter, his first, at this point in his life, and he recognized that it was not the wisest of decisions.
It is a decision that has been made by countless high school students over countless years. Many, many of them reached the same conclusion that Corey was reaching. Many, many of them have done what we hope for all of our children: learn from their mistakes and unwise decisions and make better ones in the future.
Sadly, sad almost beyond words, that is something that Corey will never be able to do.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.
25 Thoughts to “Reckless threat of registration brings death to son, family”
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So sorry for his family. But this is what happens when police use scare tactics and without parents consent.
This is one of those tragic moments which is so profoundly sad the grief (and anger) of it all is staggering.
May be they should put Mr. Weiner into suicide watch then.
He may already be there and may be there when he gets to where he is going. His high profile will not help him any and could make it worse. Not saying be sympathetic for him; however, if he was to go to that end, his child ends up fatherless. Is that fair to the child?
What a terrible tragedy! This did not have to happen, and I hope Mr and Mrs Walgreens sue, the Naperville police chief Robert Marshall for what he said. “Cory’s death is a tragedy, but the officer who questioned him acted properly “. No he did not, he should not have threatened him with the child pornography charges and with having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life! Especially without one of his parents present! To the cop, dean of students, and the girl that reported the video to the to the dean, do you understand what you have done? I hope you all take the tragic death of Cory Walgreens to your graves! The sex offender laws in this country are so draconian, even the threat of being put on it, made this poor kid to take his own life, but if it “saves just one child”. Right?
Right on, Bwat!
Not only should the police officer NOT have said anything about the teen being put on the sex offender registry, he isn’t even the person to make that decision. That would come from the discretion of the prosecutor and judge. Not a cop.
Yeah, right, the officer “acted properly”. How many times have we heard those words connected to the well over 1000 people that the police killed in the year 2015 alone? Did they all act “properly”? Well, none of them got convicted. So, I guess they did in the eyes of our crooked court system.
I’m not directing any of this at YOU, BWat, of course! This is directed to the Blue Line which excuses cops for doing all sorts of heinous things – including sex offenses – with no accountability. It just makes me shake my head sometimes in disgust. If you read the “14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism” by Dr Lawrence Britt, it lists this:
“12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.”
Sounds awfully familiar now, doesn’t it?
NH Registrant, if you want to be even more appalled at our crocked system, Google “PA State Trooper Pleads to Corruption of a Minor.” What is so upsetting about that? The 46 year-old trooper crawled in bed with a 9 year-old girl, fondled her, and told her he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. The DA in Luzerne County, PA plea bargained this down to a misdemeanor corruption of a minor, which is NOT ELIGIBLE for registration on the Pennsylvania Sex Offender List!!! In PA, a person who only possess semi or nude depictions of persons under age 18 that are non-graphic, no focus on breasts, genitalia, and anus are charged with a third degree felony, the same as someone in possession of depictions of persons’ under age 18 in graphic poses and focus on private areas or engaged in real or simulated sex or being molested. THERE IS NO PROVISION TO PLEA BARGAIN POSSESSION of non-graphic, merely semi or fully nude depictions under age 18 to a misdemeanor and not eligible for registration on the PA sex offender registry!!
I ask anyone with an ounce of common sense … who is more a public risk in the aforementioned cases?
Although NEITHER should be on a public sex offender list, it is absolutely absurd that possession of non-graphic semi or fully nude depictions of persons under 18 is an automatic third degree felony and punishable by 15 years on the public shaming list.
Ok, # 1) Police need to be kept out of HIGH SCHOOL AGE SEX ENCOUNTERS. There was a time when schools contacted parents to scold IF any such scolding was necessary.
#2) I’m completely fed up with these stories always having something to say along the lines of “learn from their mistakes and unwise decisions and make better ones in the future”
Since when is the NATURAL human function of SEX a mistake? What “la-la” land are these people who write these articles living in? (Sandy…? Really?)
Were THEY ALL virgins until marriage? I think not.
The only way to truly fight AGAINST sex offender registration is to STOP yielding to the already brainwashed legislature and public with constant political correctness by saying “it was a mistake and they learned their lesson”. Umm..NO! It was NOT a mistake to indulge in NORMAL, NATURAL human behavior between consenting age teens.
Also, once we experience sex, it’s a VERY VERY rare occcasion that any “lesson” was learned. We typically want to enjoy the pleasures of sex again and again. Especially males.
Stop pandering to the masses that teenagers are NON-sexual and that these instances are some RARE occurrence. This is NOT the way to FIGHT SOR’s, this is the type of fire the opposition will use to say we NEED SOR’s.
CUT IT OUT! Stop sounding so LIBERAL. Haven’t we seen enough liberal hypocrisy over the last decade? Aren’t we seeing enough of it NOW with these jackasses calling themselves “Antifa”?
I suggest you all go to YouTube and type in Antifa and see what I’m talking about. The far left cries for “acceptance and equality” yet they can’t seem to practice what they preach.
Stop being politically correct and always worrying about the language you use. Be straight forward! They don’t care who THEY are hurting with these damn “everything is a sex offense” laws so why would an advocacy group like NRSOL care about whose feelings YOU have to hurt to get the point across? Grow a pair!
I believe that is what the age of consent is all about, arbitrary though it is across the states. It is theoretically the age at which one is capable of deciding whether sexual activity is a wise decision with that specific person at that specific time. Corey had already questioned the wisdom of his decision and felt he had made a mistake. That seems a logical questioning for teens still in school and preparing for college. Risking a pregnancy at that point in time is not something to be taken lightly. Unwise decisions about sex and mistakes in making decisions can be made by adults also, and hopefully we all learn from our mistakes. It isn’t a matter of political correctness or of sex being a normal function. It is a matter of being mature enough to make the judgement call about whether it is a good choice for me at this point or with this person or for this reason.
” It is theoretically the age at which one is capable of deciding whether sexual activity is a wise decision with that specific person at that specific time.” Theoretically is the key word in this tragic mistake of our society that destroyed this kid and his family as well probably. If a teen is old enough to decide life or death of a unborn child they are old enough to make one no theory needed in this logic. I think we need a new theory.
I agree with Maestro.
We all need to stop pretending that everyone agrees that teen sex is bad. We also need to stop pretending that it is okay for the people who do think it is bad to force their opinions onto everyone else.
You said, “he recognized that it was not the wisest of decisions”. I think if you replaced “recognized” with “decided”, that is fine.
If a person is old enough to legally drive on the same roads that my family does then that person is old enough to legally make decisions about sex.
And if my children were having sex with someone and not being exploited, then I don’t care what age they or their partner are – I don’t want government involved in it. If something needs to be changed, I’ll work with my children to do it. I need government out of my life. I don’t ever want their police to be speaking to my children without me and/or a lawyer present.
I agree, Bill. The government has no business involving itself with teens exploring NATURAL, NORMAL sexual encounters with other willing teens. It is called a part of NORMAL growing up. These encounters happened so many times when I grew up in the 70s there was never any thought of involving the police. Now with the invention of cell phone videos and picture taking and easily posting such encounters on the Internet, there is no reasonable argument that it needs to reach the status of police being called to browbeat a kid about creating and posting child pornography and threatening him with jail and life on the sex offender list. It SHOULD be either a school issue if it happened in or on school property or a parental issue.
What in God’s name have we allowed the politicians and the John Walsh’s to do to us? NO ONE under age 18 should EVER be put on a public sex offender list regardless of the offense. Doing what this young man did or a situation where Bobby Brady played doctor with a willing Cindy Brady has NO BUSINESS being punished as a crime.
My heart bleeds big for this poor kid’s parents. I know that politicians do not care what adults on the sex offender list think about this, but I know our families and friends do. We need to urge them to urge these parents to fight against the entire idea of a public sex offender registry before one more kid kills himself because of police tactics that are encouraged by “tough on crime” prosecutors only looking for a way to gain higher public office. This mentality of everything is a sex offense punishable by public shaming for years and ruining the lives of the so-called offender and their family needs to stop NOW!!
I continue praying daily that it will.
When you consider the age of consent laws vary from state to state and country to country, who is it that ultimately gets to make OUR decisions on when a normal human emotion and act is to occur?
In the state of CT, 16 is the legal age. I can date a 16 yr old all I want (and even my probation officer told me that as long as whoever I mess with is 16+, she doesn’t care), but if me and that same 16 yr old decided to pick up and move to NY state, suddenly I’m committing a sex offense all over again as NY’s age of consent is 17, and they wouldn’t care that the relationship already existed in a state where it’s legal.
So who the hell makes OUR decisions and how do they come up with it? We can drive, work, quite school, emancipate from our families at 16 but from state to state 16 isn’t old enough to engage in normal human behavior based on normal human physical attraction? Ha! Ok.
A thousand times- agreed!
Sadly this won’t be the first suicide because of circumstances just like this. It’s a tragedy.
If the police are using child pornography laws and the sex offender registry to scare a young person to death aren’t they actually saying that the laws that have been passed and are being enforced in regard to sex offenses are meant to destroy people’s lives? Why else would they be able to use them to scare someone to death?
They didn’t meet with this young man and his family to talk about the effect of his actions on someone else, They met with him to scare him with ruining the rest of his life which is what the sex offender registry is in fact dong to many including their families.
My heart goes out to this family.
If they are so virtuous then whey do they promote sex in the media like the perverted shows like teen moms, music and music videos that talks about sex, readily available porn, provide birth control in school, etc.?
Yes, great insight all; however, my question is will all this angst translate into repeal of these laws? I think not. Watch, proponents of SO laws will remain silent of this tragic event, not want to call attention to it in the wider media, hope it goes away silently and people forget. However, the parents of this young man can do what Megan Kanka’s parents did, what John Walsh did, what Jacob Wetterling’s parents did for their children—advocate for justice for their child. This death can be put squarely on the shoulders of sex offender laws. This young man was not ignorant of what being on that hit list is about. Once the cops threatened him with being on that list, his life as an RSO flashed before his eyes. And with almost a million RSOs nationwide, he probably knew someone personally on the registry and knew what they were going through and said to himself “….to hell with that S%$!, I can’t do it, I won’t do it…” and took himself out. So one can argue convincingly that it was the SO registry that unjustly caused the death of this young man. So to Mr. & Mrs Walgren I say you have a great opportunity to NOT allow your son’s death to be in vane. Do what the Kankas did, what Walshs did, what the Wetterlings did for their child—agitate for change.
“If it saves one child, it’s worth it.”
The Ultimate Irony of the Sex Offender Registry comes home to roost.
This is horrific. A young life, a CHILD was lost, all because of a country’s corrupt laws, justice system and politicians. Some of the people responsible for setting up these asinine laws should have jumped off the ledge instead of this teen. These are the same liar politicians and prosecutors that so ‘claim’ to do all of this to protect children, and yet suicides and death has occurred as a result to the accused/convicted. Some sex acts can be horrific but nobody Dies, which is the ultimate worst act possible (causing loss of life). Thus, these laws cause death and loss of life in the name of ‘curbing inappropriate sex acts’. Pathetic, it’s like the people backing these laws have lost the function of part of their brains.
When an individual or a nation turn away from the Lord there is an onset of progressive declesion. Money becomes their god, pleasure becomes their pursuit, anger rules their heart, and vengeance void of mercy becomes the prevailing attitude of their life. We are quite literally a nation teetering, and poised to self-destruct. Those of us who are registered citizens are keenly aware of the merciless attitude that governs so much of our nation today (though we are not at all the only citizens suffering injustices). We need help from the courts, that we might find release from laws that far exceed the bounds of fairness and justice. Our own anger will not accomplish this, and we must refuse to be ruled by such an attitude. Only God, responding to the prayers of humble and weary hearts can bring about a positive and lasting change. He alone can raise up people who are able advocates for the oppressed. A man once said, “prayer doesn’t change things. Prayer changes people, and people change things.” God send us these people!
Amen, Jim! Well said!!!
the sex cop industry is a booming business.
This is so messed up. The Parents of the young man should be screaming from the rooftops.
I watched a documentary one time where a cop confessed it is their job to get a person to confess to committing a crime. Which leads me to ask what the hell the officer actually said to the young man without his legal guardian being present and how did they see and hear the photo and or video on the young man’s phone…. illegal search and seizure anyone? This crap just makes me sick to be living in a country like this…